architecture and space introduction to the humanities 1

Architecture and Space

Write a 4 page examination of three different kinds of architecture that impact your daily life.

This assessment allows you to demonstrate your understanding architecture’s influence on personal experience.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

  • Competency 1: Describe the historical development of the humanities from the pre-historic era to the present.
    • Assess how traditional architecture contributes to experience of spaces we inhabit.
  • Competency 2: Examine the forms of expression that instantiate the arts and humanities.
    • Describe the spatial and architectural features of familiar places.
    • Apply theoretical principles to the architecture of everyday spaces.
  • Competency 3: Integrate the humanities with everyday life.
    • Illustrate the influence of architecture on personal experience.
  • Competency 4: Communicate effectively in forms appropriate to the humanities.
    • Write coherently to support a central idea in appropriate format with correct grammar, usage, and mechanics.


    For this assessment, complete the following:

    • Select three different kinds of spaces with which you are familiar in everyday life: (IN THIS CASE, THE PLACE WORK A INTENSIVE CARE UNIT AT A HOSPITAL AS A REGISTERED NURSE, EXERCISE, AND MEDITATION)
      • Describe these spaces in detail, explaining what you observe, feel, think, and do when you are in each. Let your observation include lots of sensory inputs; you may first notice visual elements, but look for characteristic smells or sounds as well.
      • Examine your thoughts and feelings with the same degree of attention; is this a place that uplifts you or drags you down?
      • Consider the activities you pursue here, whether they are unique to this space or associated with it in your memory.
    • List the theoretical principles of architecture and apply those principles to the spaces you have described.
      • How do the architectural features of the space help to shape the variety of experiences you have when inhabiting it? Reflect on the traditional forms of architecture and assess how they contribute to what you observe, feel, think, and do in these spaces.
    Additional Requirements
    • Written communication: Should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
    • APA formatting: Your paper should be formatted according to APA (6th edition) style and formatting.
    • Length: 4 typed and double-spaced pages.
    • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.
    • At least 4 references.


The Assessment 1 Context document provides a brief overview of two key concepts. First, it explores how the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome introduced many of the foundations of what we now call “the humanities.” Second, it reviews key concepts and ideas related to architecture. You may wish to review this document for information that supports this assessment.



About two thousand years ago, two productive societies introduced many of the foundational practices that continued to shape Western civilization for centuries. The Greeks and Romans figured out ways of understanding human life, social interactions, and the natural world that continue to influence us today. Their devotion to justice, harmony, reason, proportion, and beauty is the basis for classical ideals.

Independent Greek city-states developed various political structures, each of which aimed to produce social order while securing the welfare of all. Athens, in particular, fostered a community of citizens, artists, leaders, and thinkers who brought generations of significant progress.

  • Democratic institutions relied upon rhetorical methods that permitted widespread participation by individual members of the community.
  • Sculptors developed a style both realistic and ideal, human figures who are “eternally youthful, healthy, serene, dignified, and liberated from all accidents of nature” (Fiero, p. 52).
  • Playwrights created public spectacles that portrayed human character and behavior in all its grandeur and folly.
  • Philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle employed rational approaches to explore naturalistic accounts of natural phenomena and human conduct.
  • Even when the Greeks lost political independence, their ideas continued to influence culture throughout the Hellenistic era.

Although it borrowed extensively from the Greeks, Roman culture—first as a Republic and later as an Empire—developed distinctive practical features of its own.

  • Effective military organization secured the stability of Rome itself and extended political control around the Mediterranean Sea and through much of Europe.
  • Poetic literature moved beyond epic history into more personal expressions of emotion, including lyrics, odes, and satire.
  • Architects employed the arch as a way of supporting large interior spaces for public gatherings, including the Colosseum and Pantheon in Rome itself.
  • Administrative governance of the Empire at large relied upon the rule of laws that were publicly promulgated and enforced.

The Roman Republic served as one of the powerful models for social and political organization embraced by the American founders.


Architecture shapes the places in which we spend our time. From birth onward, we deliberately arrange our living spaces in order to ensure security and comfort while avoiding confinement or restriction. This is a good example of the tension between public and private expressions of the humanities, since our experience of space ranges across many scales, purposes, and feelings:

  • Places designed for large public gatherings—stadiums, arenas, convention halls, and cathedrals.
  • Work environments intended to focus attention on specific professional outcomes.
  • Personal choices about interior design for ease and comfort in daily life at home.
  • Vehicles to transport us pleasantly and efficiently away from home and back again.
  • Outdoor spaces, both natural and landscaped, that place us in the context of plants and wildlife.
  • Private enclosure within our own garments and inside our own skins.

We can shape some of these places for ourselves, and others we must accept as they are. Yet, all of them have an effect on us. There is deep perceptual and emotional energy involved in architecture. The buildings we live and work in shape and influence the way we live.


Fiero, G. K. (2012). Landmarks in humanities. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.


To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

  • Most of the examples of classical architecture that have survived to our day are monumental in scale—large spaces designed for public gatherings or functional infrastructure.
    • Which of the structures built in our own time serve similar functions?
    • Which of them might be most likely to survive for millennia to come, and what would they tell our descendants about us?
  • Since private structures are less likely to remain intact over the centuries, does this limit the confidence with which observers (now or in the future) can infer how personal life was affected by their design?
    • If you could guarantee the survival of one space that expresses your own experience most faithfully, what would it be, and why?
  • Consider the modern style expressed by Wright, Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier, along with the postmodernism of Foster, Johnson, and Gehry.
    • How have their designs contributed to our sense of the spaces we inhabit?
    • Library Resources

    The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course:

    Bookstore Resources

    The resource listed below is relevant to the topics and assessments in this course. Unless noted otherwise, this material is available for purchase from the Capella University Bookstore. When searching the bookstore, be sure to look for the Course ID with the specific –FP (FlexPath) course designation.

    • Fiero, G. K. (2016). Landmarks in humanities (4th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
      • Chapters 1–3.


Introduction to the Humanities.

The humanities are disciplines that deal with how human beings create, express, and interpret the meaning of their lives. That covers a lot of territory, including the visual and performing arts, literature, philosophy, religion, and history. In this course, we will sample all of them, focus on a few, and apply the humanities to our personal and professional lives.

The world is full of facts, many of which would remain true even if we were not here to notice them. But some things arise directly from the experiences of human beings and from our efforts to understand and appreciate them. These are the subject matter for the humanities: how do we comprehend and communicate the significance of what happens to us? It is not a simple question!

Consider the full range of experiences and reflections out of which we construct the meaning of our lives:

  • Perception—what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell in the world around us.
  • Emotion—the feelings we have, from gut reactions to pervasive moods.
  • Thought—ideas we form in our effort to understand the nature of reality.
  • Decision—the choices we make, from ordering lunch to choosing a career.

All of these are intensely personal—no two people are exactly alike, and none of us has direct access to what others experience.

But there is a social dimension, too. We believe ourselves to have a lot in common, and we do try to share our perceptions, feelings, thoughts, and choices with each other. In fact, the way we interpret our own experiences is often shaped by what we’ve learned from those expressed by other people, so the humanities are not only individual, but also manifestations of the entire culture. Even in “pre-historical” periods, societies revered nature, shared tool-making skills, buried their dead, and erected monuments.

The humanities are traditions through which the meaning of life is experienced, expressed, communicated, and reinvented from generation to generation. They include (at least) the following:

  • Visual arts—drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, and architecture.
  • Performing arts—music, dance, acting, theatre, and film.
  • Discursive arts—writing, literature, and poetry.
  • Religion—revelation, ritual, sacrament, and community.
  • Philosophy—knowledge, reality, logic, ethics, and law.
  • History—society, politics, institutions, and individuals.

Each of these disciplines makes some attempt to comprehend human life in a way that enriches and expands our individual experience.